BBC's voice of football to retire after throat surgery

One of the BBC's most familiar voices, James Alexander Gordon, is bowing out from reading the classified football results on radio after having throat cancer surgery.The 77-year-old has appeared on Radio 2 and then Radio 5 Live but his voice is no longer strong enough to broadcast.

The presenter - popularly known by his initials as JAG - joined the BBC in 1972 and went on to become one of the most recognisable voices on radio.

Edinburgh-born Gordon, whose delivery often made it possible for fans to predict the fortune of their team simply from the inflection, has often admitted he knows little about football other than the results.

Just last year he said he had no plans ever to step down from his role. "I keep telling the BBC they will have to carry me out on a stretcher. I'll die with the microphone in my hand," he said in an interview.

But the BBC said today that although his surgery was successful, "sadly his voice is now not strong enough to broadcast".